It took be awhile to pick up Dani Brown after reading Chloe Brown, but the momentum after Dani made me ready for Eve Brown as soon as I could get my hands on it. So here we are, I finished up this sister romance series right quick and I loved it and also don’t want it to be over yet!
Eve, the youngest Brown sister, feels like she has never really been able to fit in correctly, and, especially compared to her sisters, the string of failed studies/careers she’s left behind lead to her parents insisting that she finally “grow up” and prove herself. Jacob owns a new bed-and-breakfast that, despite his meticulous management and need for control and perfection, is currently quite understaffed (very much in need of a chef, in particular). When Eve stumbles upon the interviews for the chef position, is unceremoniously refused the position, and then accidentally runs over Jacob, they find themselves thrust into the position of having to work together, at least until Jacob’s arm heals and the local Gingerbread Festival is over. But their original dislike of each other starts to morph into something more as the two realize their completely opposite personalities might be hiding some much deeper-seated similarities and, of course, some intense sexual attraction.
Mmmmmm Hibbert does it again, with her fantastically sarcastic and genuine writing. She brings Eve and Jacob to life in such a perfect way, with authentic character growth and attachment, adorable and balanced back and forth dialogue, a few fantastically placed romance tropes to bring the two together, hilarity and drama with an edge of serious underpinnings, sensitive – to the best of my knowledge – representation (autistic rep specifically, here), and some truly steamy sex scenes. Also, as always with these sort of romance trilogies, I really enjoy seeing cameos from previous stars, like Chloe and Dani. AND, in this case, I just love Gigi and I vote we get her story next!
Hibbert has done such a wonderful job, through these three novels, of focusing on the unique challenges of “invisible” differences, from chronic pain in Chloe to anxiety/depression in Dani to autism and confidence here in Eve. They are all handled with such clear care and it’s wonderful to see these issues both taken seriously and allowed to be light, with happy endings, at the same time. In this case, Eve and Jacob are both on the Autism spectrum, but with very different knowledge bases and backgrounds about it. It allows them a chance to bond on a deeper level with each other, while also giving the reader insight into the myriad ways non-nuero-typical lives can be experienced and lived. Plus, I do really love a solid opposites attract now and again and Eve’s boisterous and bright personality is written in perfect contrast and complement to Jacob’s own controlled and subdued aspects. (And the sex scenes were, as always, hot AF with nothing that made me cringe – Hibbert has a super power with that and I’m all the way into it.)
I also appreciate that way that external expectations play a role here. Obviously, that’s something that many people deal with, in life and in the previous Brown Sisters stories, but seeing the specific ways it’s internalized here in conjunction with being on the spectrum is important. I also have to say, I really loved the way the we see Eve not necessarily power through all adversity, but take a different path when she realized a option wasn’t for her. There are many ways to deal with tough situations and the reactions she got about that first one being a “failure” that set her up for a path of “continuing” that, though it shouldn’t have and didn’t need to, was heartbreaking to read. Leaving situations and changing course to find better/healthier alternative are completely valid ways to handle challenges and it’s an important but definitely underrepresented perspective that I loved reading and loved seeing Jacob validate and Eve finally learn to accept within herself. I just…I was really here for that recognition.
This was such a cute finale to this trilogy. A wonderful romance with a side-focus on learning to trust and be proud of yourself, of knowing that you are worthy (in life and in love). The bed and breakfast setting was sweet, the Brown family and new side-characters (Jacob’s friends!) were all heart-warming, Eve and Jacob themselves were perfectly matched and adorable with a well-paced enemies to lovers transition, and the overall vibe of this final sister’s story was delightful and satisfying (with a wonderful ending just right for this couple and their journeys).
A few quotes I highlighted while reading:
“There was nothing worse than someone making a valid point during an argument he intended to win.”
“…the world would be a much better place if they stopped congratulating themselves on being normal and started to accept that there were countless different normal, and Jacob’s kind was just as fin as everyone else’s.”
“Sometimes, being convenient instead of real was exhausting. So maybe from now on, she’d stop.”
“…there are different ways to fail. Imperfection is inevitable. That’s life. But it doesn’t sound to me like you’ve failed at all, Eve. It sounds like your dream broke, and you’ve been picking up shattered pieces and blaming yourself when your hands bleed.”